I’ve always liked the idea of audiobooks, but we hadn’t tried out many until now. As part of the Mumsnet Blogger Panel, we were given the choice of a range of Puffin and BBC audiobooks to test out with the kids. I chose the Roald Dahl, Worst Witch and Chronicles of Narnia CDs which are all classic stories that I’d enjoyed in my own childhood, so it’s lovely to share those again with the kids.
The first audiobook that we got started on was the ‘Roald Dahl Reads’ story collection. This set includes 5 stories (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr Fox, The Enormous Crocodile and The Magic Finger.
A couple of the stories on the CD are abridged versions. These are the ones from the longer books: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and James and the Giant Peach. They still cover all the main parts of the story, and it didn’t really affect the listening experience for us.
One of the lovely thing about this CD is that the stories are narrated by Roald Dahl himself, which is pretty magical. There’s no one better to read a story than the author himself! As Roald Dahl is such a beloved author and the children have learned a bit about him and his life, especially with this year being his 100 year anniversary, then it’s really nice for them to have the opportunity to listen to his stories in his own voice.
A lot of people like to use audio books in the car for long journeys, but we really liked using them at home for bedtime relaxation too. We have a small portable CD player which we can easily move around the house, so I brought it down to the living room and snuggled up on the sofa with the kids to listen to the stories together. Some nights this was as well as me reading them a story, and sometimes we listened to the CDs together in place of that – depending on how much time we had.
One of the audio CD sets that we chose, The Chronicles of Narnia, is a series that we’ve already enjoyed together by me reading the stories aloud to the kids at bed time, but it’s such an epic series with so much magic to it that it’s one that can definitely be read or listened to over and over again. The Narnia set has all seven stories spread across 14 CDs and runs for 15 hours in total, so you can spread the whole thing out over several weeks and really make it last!
The other audiobook sets are also decent lengths of 3 hours 40 across 3 CDs for Roald Dahl, and 5 hours 23 across 6 CDs for the Worst Witch (which contains 4 unabridged Worst Witch stories)
I’ve really enjoyed the time spent snuggled up with the kids listening to the stories together. With a new baby on the way, I can see these audio books coming in really handy at bedtimes as it will let me be there with the kids listening to stories together, but still have my hands free to feed baby or multi task a little bit – as I’m not the one actually holding the book and reading it. With four children, handy solutions like this are sure to be really valuable some nights!
The audiobooks will also be nice for the children to put on in the background while they play, or listen to in their own rooms as many times as they like! I hope that hearing these great stories brought to life in such high quality audio forms – as I mentioned the Roald Dahl books are narrated by himself, and the Narnia books are narrated as full cast dramatisations – will only help to grow their love of books further, and inspire them to discover lots of new books and stories.
I’ll definitely look out for more audiobooks to add to our collection. There are some great looking ones available for younger children, and more grown up ones for my eldest too as we start to move more into the young adult books.
If you’re looking for more Audiobook ideas and recommendations for all ages, Mumsnet recently published some content with Puffin on ‘The best audiobooks for children’. Check it out to listen to audio samples, and see what Mumsnet users recommend.
I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.
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